When COVID-19 relief didn’t come, Douglass residents stepped up for their own

By Ashley Davis, for High Ground News

There’s been a flood of relief efforts in response to Covid-19, but are resources getting to the Memphis neighborhoods that need them the most?

Residents from the Douglass community in North Memphis said that for several weeks, resources like food banks and testing sites just weren’t coming to them.

Kathy Yancey-Temple runs The Time is Now Douglass Community Development Corporation. She said Douglass is often overlooked because it is a small community, and isolated community. It’s boundaries include railroad lines and the Wolf River, and it has few major thoroughfares.

“Resources not getting to Douglass is not a pandemic problem. This has always been our problem,” Yancey-Temple said. “ We’re so small, people often just lump us in with another neighborhood like Hollywood, but it never seems to trickle down this way.”

With layoffs, furloughs or jobs on hold, residents in Douglass say they need close access to resources more than ever. But Yancey-Temple said Douglass often has to mobilize on its own.

In March, she reached out to the Mid-South Food Bank and a neighborhood church, St. John’s Missionary Baptist Church, to partner on biweekly mobile food banks in Douglass beginning April 16. It was the first mobile food pantry in Douglass during the pandemic.

YMCA and Shelby County Schools have distributed food at Douglass Community Center but those meals are primarily for children 18 and under. Mobile food banks allow residents of any age to receive two weeks worth of food.

The next mobile food bank is scheduled for May 23 at 3131 Pope Street.

“Even if [relief efforts] don’t want to come to Douglass, we’re going to come to you and tell you to bring it to us,” said Yancey-Temple.

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Feature Image: The Time is Now Douglass Community Development Corporation hosted a mobile food pantry in the Douglass neighborhood on April 16th. It was the first mobile pantry held in Douglass since the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Shelby County. (Submitted)

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